Alma 29:9

"I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yeah, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy."
Alma 29:9

Monday, January 23, 2017

After 16 Months, still not a dull moment!


This week has been pretty swell! Saying goodbye to Sister Kelley was tough beans because I love her so much! But she is going to do amazing things in Butler, I just know it.

On Tuesday, I got my baby, Sister Robison!!! I absolutely adore her. She is amazing! Poor thing got slammed with a bad cold at the beginning of the week, so I forced her to rest (because she wouldn't have otherwise 😉). But even with her sickness, we had a good week! She is from Rigby, Idaho! Another comp from Idaho-Sweet Potatoes!  She is the youngest in her family with 3 older siblings.  She is excited to be out and I am excited to get to work with her and watch her discover all the amazing things about being a missionary! Oh and she loves music and has a beautiful voice! The music bond is so great and we will be definitely singing lots!  Life is Good! God definitely knows who we need, when we need them!

After 16 months (as of today!!! Ahhhhh!!!), still not a dull moment. We had dinner at a recent covert/less-active's home, and we were doing some service for them afterwards, and...I stepped in dog poop. Yep, that was nice. And then the next day at a lesson, a cat was sitting on my lap and it peed on me. Yep, that was nice too. Never a dull moment. Ever. 🙈

*Ron and Nancy*
Please please please pray for them. We tried to see them this week, but they were in such a rough patch we didn't even get to teach them anything or read with them...the atmosphere was so tense and I just felt so helpless. They are struggling in so many temporal aspects of their lives, and I feel like there's nothing I can do. Please keep them in your prayers.

Okay, here is the gem of all gems. So we tracted into him mid-December, and have seen him two other times now. We taught him about the Plan of Salvation and had a good lesson with him. I told Sister Robison that she was going to be the one to invite him to be baptized. She did, in the middle of the lesson, and without hesitation, George said, "Yes!" We invited him to church and he said he would be there. (Can you say #GOLDEN?! But wait, there's more!) He shows up to church in a legit suit. Holy cannoli guacamole, was not expecting that! He just fit right in! When one brother in the ward asked if he was visiting, he said, "Yeah, I'm just visiting today, and I might start coming every week." Right after Sacrament meeting, he asked questions like, "What else do I need to do to get baptized? When can I get baptized? Can you give me enough notice so I can invite my friends and family?" It was the coolest thing. We definitely will be giving him a baptismal date this week! It was so amazing. Please keep him in your prayers--he recently went through a really hard divorce and is going through a lot with that. I'm so excited for him though!! 

I absolutely love my mission. I try not to dwell too much on the fact that the end is nigh, because it just about brings me to tears. I know this phase of my life won't last forever, but I sure wish it would. I guess I just have to focus on all the good and amazing experiences I've had and cherish those forever. I sure will. And trust that what God has in store for me is going to be amazing too. I am grateful how, through my mission and the experiences here, the Savior is changing me and has changed me. I'm not the same person I was when I got here. I've changed and grown in ways I wouldn't have anticipated or expected, but I'm so grateful. I have loved these 16 months, as hard as they've been. But I couldn't be more grateful.

So glad I have Sister Robison to keep my feet on the ground these last few months and help me stay focused. I'm so grateful for her, she really is a gift!

I am so grateful for each of you and the support you continue to give me--I love you so much!! I hope you have a beautiful week!!

"Keep loving. Keep trying. Keep trusting. Keep believing. Keep growing. Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever." (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland)

With so much love,
Sister Bartlett

                                               Goodbye Sister Kelley!

Hello Sister Robison! Baby #2!!

It's Sister Hill from AF - SOOO HAPPY I got to see her!!!!
                                            She is going to be an Amazing Missionary :)

Monday, January 16, 2017

Sometimes I wonder about this whole agency thing.....

My dearest family!!

Boy, do I have a lot to tell you! So I'll be honest with yinz, Tuesday was terrible. We went to go see Mary again, and her husband came out on the porch instead and told us that he would never become a Mormon, and he only believes in the one and only God who died on the cross, etc...but he was wasn't very nice about it. He handed us the copy of the Book of Mormon with the pamphlet inside. I asked if Mary would like to hear more of our message, and he said she was "shaky" as he shook his head. He blessed us both with a cross symbol motion in the air and bid us farewell. Oh man. That was like a knife shoved right into my chest. It hurt so bad. We walked back to the car, got inside, and just cried.

What I didn't tell you about Mary was that she never felt like God was listening to her or that He loved her. And she felt that because of her past, He wanted to just toss her to the side. Boy did that break my heart. But it broke my heart even more that because of her husband's agency, we will never get to teach her that the opposite is true. My mission at times has caused me to think a lot about why we have the gift of agency. Wouldn't have Satan's Plan been so much make everyone do the right thing? 😈 ...I know exactly why we have agency and why it is such a gift, but boy it is frustrating when things like this happens. I guess we'll teach him the next life 😉 ...and there are other people who are prepared and ready to hear the gospel. We just have to find them.

Ronald and Nancy did not make it to church (Nancy is trying to get more strength back into her paralyzed legs). But we drove out there (after our team-up couldn't...our miles are shot for the month) and had an awesome discussion with them. We read 2 Nephi 2 and we're able to answer more of their questions. Hearing them describe how they feel the Spirit is the coolest thing ever. They really can feel that our message is true, it's amazing! Now we gotta get 'em to church. They'll get there though and I am so excited!!

Let's see. What else happened this week? Oh my heavens GUESS WHAT?? I got to go back to Pitt 3rd on exchanges with Sister Simpson!!!! It was literally the greatest thing EVER. Such a tender mercy. Teaching with her, singing with her, and just catching up on all the things was SO GOOD. (I included an audio video of us singing 🎶) I got to see the Eichenmiller's (recent converts), Sister Snodgrass, and have dinner with Mike and Chris Ritz!!! It was so wonderful!! A much-needed exchange. I love her to death and she is one of my favorite people in the whole entire world.

We also had interviews with President and it was a definite highlight. I ADORE President and Sister Johnson and am SO GRATEFUL I get both of them for the full 18 months. They both always know exactly what to say and I felt the Spirit so strong being with them. President is dumbfounded that here we are, almost 16 months into my mission, when we both remember the very first time I sat down with him in an interview. Ha ha! But he reminded me that I'm not the same person I was back then, and I really am not. I can't see all the changes in myself, but I know I've changed a lot. The power to change through the Savior and His Atonement is real. It's truly a beautiful thing. ❤

Oh, and I have some very big news...drumroll, please...I AM TRAINING!!!!!! Daughter #2 is on the way 👶Ha ha. I'm a little nervous, but peace has come when I have felt that this is exactly what is supposed to happen. I know it is going to help me tons on my last two transfers (*gasp*) of my mission to stay focused and work hard. I want to help this sister start out her mission in the best way possible. That is my motivation. Oh, and this is exciting too! Sister Morgan is also training again!! How wild is that?? I will now have two daughters and two granddaughters. My posterity is growing!! Ha ha 😉😂 She is white-washing/doubling-in an area, and I know she's gonna do great!

Sister Kelley is being transferred to Butler, which is in the Pitt North zone (I am in the Pitt West zone, and when I was in Beaver I was in that zone). It has been hard watching her say goodbye--I remember well how hard that first transfer was. But people in Butler sure need her and her beautiful testimony. She is going to do great things, I just know it!

Well fam bam, I think that's all I have for you. I'll find out tomorrow who I'll be training so I'm excited for that (maybe it will be Sister Hill from American Fork 🙊)! Stay tuned!

This really is God's work. And I know He is actively involved in it because I can see His hand each and every day. I know that no matter what, this work will move forward until this gospel fills the earth. It is the greatest privilege I have of serving as one of His servants, getting to play a part in taking it to the world. (Let's go save the world!!) I love being a missionary, despite the lowest of lows and a broken heart that at times come with it. The joy far outweighs the sorrows! I love this gospel and I know it's true. I love the Book of Mormon and I know it is the very word of God. I am coming to truly know my Savior as I study His character woven through the pages. I love my Heavenly Father and Savior and I am doing all I can to love Them more.

I hope yinz have an amazing week!! Be safe, and be happy! And wish me luck!! Remember who you are and that a sister missionary in Pennsylvania LOVES YOU!!!!
"Keep loving. Keep trying. Keep trusting. Keep believing. Keep growing. Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever." (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland)

all my love,
Sister Bartlett

                                          With Grant and Mary Lou

                                        Exchanges with Sister Faamaile and Sister Simpson!

With my favorite Sister Simpson :)

Monday, January 9, 2017

"You girls are the REAL thing!"

Oh buckets. (Ha's a Sister Kelley catch-phrase ;))

Family, this week was pretty good!! ...for the most part. Some days, not so much, but that's normal for mission life.  But let me tell you about it.

I'll get the not-so-good out of the way. We had the "drop talk" with our investigator Jessica. There's really no way for her to progress...anyway, big tears welled up in her eyes when we told her we wouldn't be meeting with her as often anymore and she said, "That hurts my feelings." Oh my heavens. I felt like the worst human being ever. Imagine the worst break-up you've been through--that's what it's like to drop someone. Worst. Thing. Ever. Anyways...the deed is done. No going back now. It really is the literal worst part of missionary work.

Oh that note, moving on to the happy things from this week! 

On Tuesday we had an *AMAZING* lesson with Mary Magdalene...ha ha JK. But her name really is Mary, and her last name sounds like Magdalene. Ha ha. We taught her the Restoration and it was such a powerful lesson. We asked her what she knew about Joseph Smith, and she said, "Well, I know that he passed out in the woods somewhere!" Ha ha too good. We had her read the first vision quoted in the pamphlet and she did, "Whoa! I didn't know there were two of them!" We told her we believed the Godhead is these separate beings, and she gasped. Then she whispered, "I think I believe it too. But I don't wanna go to hell." Oh my heavens...that was a first. Later she told us: "I don't see anything bad in you girls. All I see is blessedness. You girls are the real thing." It was the sweetest thing! I wish I could give you a complete play-by-play of that lesson because it was amazing. She is so prepared, and I am so excited to teach her some more!!

We also saw Ronald and Nancy again!! We taught them the Restoration as well and it was amazing. Ron has been church-hopping for a while, but he said that none of them every felt right. At the beginning of the lesson, he was like, "Where is Christ's church? Like the original church, where is it?" We told him we could answer that question. We taught him the Restoration and it was so good. The Spirit was so strong--and they described how they were feeling it. It was amazing. They are so prepared too, it's incredible. Also...*drum roll please*...they accepted a baptismal date for March 11th!!! WOOHOO!!!! Best thing ever!!! We are praying they will be able to make it to church this week!!

So...yesterday. Wanna hear the craziest thing?! We were in relief society talking about Joseph Smith and the first vision. I can't remember what question was asked, but this lady spoke up and she said, "We don't worship Jesus Christ. We worship Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ. And that's the truth." My jaw dropped to the floor. Luckily, this lady spoke up and said "I worship Jesus Christ." She corrected her and the Spirit returned to normal. Thank heavens. It was probably the craziest thing I've ever heard anyone say. It was insane. Bless her heart...

So one night we had fun taking pictures with the photo booth app and took some great videos...enjoy!

Family, I love this gospel!! I know it is true with everything that I am. I know that Jesus Christ really stands at the head of this church and leads and guides it through a living prophet. I also know that our Heavenly Father is our literal father and He loves us so much. He and our Savior are so incredibly patient and merciful and loving and kind with our weaknesses and the mistakes we repeatedly make. How grateful I am that I can approach the Lord in humble prayer and ask for forgiveness anytime, anywhere, over and over again.

I hope you have an amazing week! Stay warm! Love you!!

"Keep loving. Keep trying. Keep trusting. Keep believing. Keep growing. Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever." (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland)

sending love and a huge hug your way,
Sister Bartlett xoxo

                                       The District from Canonsburg!!

Monday, January 2, 2017

2017: Look not behind thee.....

Hello fam bam!!

Happy new year!!!! It's 2017, can you believe it?! I don't think it's sunk in for me yet. I can't believe this year has actually come...I was under the false impression momentarily that this year would never arrive. Ha ha. How silly of me, right? 

It was a super slow week, so I don't have much to say about it. But the definite highlight was Ronald and Nancy...they are amazing. We saw them this week and taught them the Plan of Salvation. It was a great lesson! Ronald told us again that he's been to several different churches, but he's never learned any of this. He said, "Where's this been all my life??" Ha ha. It's incredible to watch them begin their journey of conversion and watch them see and feel the difference, the peace this gospel is making in their lives. We also invited them to be baptized and they accepted!! We will be extending a date to them this week, and I am so excited!! Best thing ever. These moments make everything worth it. These moments are the reasons why being a missionary is the best thing in the world.

For New Year's, we had dinner with a family, and then came home and cleaned. We did make our own sparkling cider out of sprite and juicy juice which was super tasty. Went to bed, Sister Kelley said, "See you next year!" 😂 and when I woke up, it was 2017. It definitely feels weird not staying up on New Year's Eve. But, oh well. There's a time and a place I guess. 😉

Oh! I also had my check-up MRI at the hospital in Washington. It went well, they had me in and out pretty fast. They inserted the contrast through a vein in my hand which was interesting, but it felt fine--he did a good job with it. Now I'm just praying the results come back and I am still clear of my brain tumor.

With the end of a year and the beginning of the next, I have been doing a lot of reflecting. We heard a lot about goal-setting and what it means to set goals and what it takes to reach them. I am determined to set both short-term and long-term goals for myself that I can reach this year. As I've sought direction from the Lord in prayer, I am beginning to catch the vision of the coming year, or at least some of the things God wants me to do and work on. I am excited for what this year will bring!

I feel so blessed to have spent all of 2016 in the Lord's service as one of His missionaries. It was the craziest, hardest, most heart-breaking, most trying, most spiritual, amazing, beautiful and incredible roller coaster of a year I have ever experienced. But I wouldn't trade it for anything. I consider it one of my biggest blessings, for it truly is a huge part of me now. I can't really put into words how much I love my mission, Pennsylvania, these members and missionaries. A huge part of my heart will always stay here. My heart breaks when I realize more and more than I am getting closer to the end...but I am determined to finish strong and stay focused on the Savior. 

I watched one of my favorite Mormon messages again this week: "New Years: Look Not Behind Thee" good. Here's the link if yinz wanna watch it: <>
I also reviewed some of a BYU devotional by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, titled "Remember Lot's Wife", and I wanted to share some of it with you:

"So, as a new year starts and we try to benefit from a proper view of what has gone before, I plead with you not to dwell on days now gone, nor to yearn vainly for yesterdays, however good those yesterdays may have been. The past is to be learned from but not lived in. We look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not the ashes. And when we have learned what we need to learn and have brought with us the best that we have experienced, then we look ahead, we remember that faith is always pointed toward the future. Faith always has to do with blessings and truths and events that will yet be efficacious in our lives. So a more theological way to talk about Lot's wife is to say that she did not have faith. She doubted the Lord's ability to give her something better than she already had. Apparently she thought—fatally, as it turned out—that nothing that lay ahead could possibly be as good as those moments she was leaving behind."

He also quotes Philippians 3:13–14...

"This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

This was a wonderful reminder for me, and I am going to do all I can to incorporate what he teaches us here. 2016 was an absolutely incredible year, and it would be so easy to give in to the convincing thoughts that 2017 could never be anywhere near what 2016 was. But I know that whatever God has in store for me, the best is yet to come. He's going to walk me through this year, and I will trust Him where He leads me. 

Let's make this year the best one yet!! And to start it off, have the best week ever!! I LOVE YOU!!

"Keep loving. Keep trying. Keep trusting. Keep believing. Keep growing. Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever." (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland)

All my love,
Sister Bartlett xoxo
Happy New Year!!

New Year's 2017 Polynesian Style!